Thomas Built Buses Announces Essay Contest Winners


School bus OEM reveals the winners of its fifth annual Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest.

After approximately 900 essay were voted on in this year’s competition, the top award went to a little boy named Chancellor and the driver that helped him by stopping an ongoing bullying issue he was facing. Lester LeMasters, a driver for Monongalia County Schools in Morgantown, W.V., ending the constant bullying by dropping off the two boys at two different locations on the same street. The bully had been punching Chancellor in the stomach every time they got off the bus together.

“I think he is heroic,” wrote Chancellor in his winning essay.

“The essay contest provides a platform for us to shine a light on some of the heartwarming stories that we don’t recognize in our industry often enough,” said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “We have been fortunate to watch the number of essays grow over the last five years, which tells us that there are many incredible drivers out there.”

LeMasters and Chancellor will both attend NAPT’s Annual Summit in Portland, which will include keynote sessions and a panel discussion on bullying. Thomas also awarded Chancellor with a laptop computer and an educational savings bond, while LeMasters was given a $1,000 Visa gift card for being named Driver of the Year.

This year’s contest also recognized two runners up and an honorable mention:

  • Leslie Andrews, nominated by Samantha from Hampstead, N.C.
  • Pat Ferguson, nominated by Sarah from Crown Point, Ind.
  • Timothy Driggers, nominated by Shivani from Tampa, Fla.

All finalists also received a jacket and lunch box. The winning essays are available on Thomas Built’s Web site.